I found myself once again in an old burn area. For whatever reason the trail always seems to ascend steeply through all the burned areas and the trail seems to always meander along the sunny side of the mountains. As I climbed, a song from the Lord of the Rings soundtrack popped up on my playlist, and for a few minutes I was whisked away to Middle Earth, where I imagined that I was lost deep in the burned forests of Mordor. Thru hiking might not be as heroic as the epic stories told by Tolkien, but I realized every good story arises in the midst of conflict.
Gandalf could have summoned a legion of eagles to fly the hobbits to Mount Doom to cast the ring into the fires, but no, the hobbits mostly walked to Mordor and they experienced all kinds of conflict along the way. With each tribulation the young hobbits become wiser and stronger. Sprinkled with moments of pain and discomfort my experiences in the desert and Southern California have strengthened me and I hope I will gracefully overcome the tribulations that I know I will face in the Sierra. Maybe I should listen to more Lord of the Rings soundtracks as I fight my way through the snowy passes of the Sierra.